I want to be a dad, just for one day.
Just once, I want to be the hero who swoops in wearing his cape, ready to save the precious little people from the evil mama dragon who is about to breathe fire on them after discovering they spilled yet another gallon of juice all over the floor. Just once I want to not be gripped with fear at the thought of throwing the baby up towards the ceiling, only to catch him in the knick of time while he giggles and begs me to do it again.
Let's face it mamas, they get all of the glory. They get to drive the fun bus while we sit back like the stinky, overheated cab no one wants to ride in.
They let them eat the ice cream. They sneak sips of soda. They break all the rules.
You want to eat on the couch? Go ahead. Just don't ever tell your mother.
You want to watch that scary movie that will have you sleeping with mom until you're 30? Okay, grab the remote! But if your mom asks, I didn't give you permission, okay?
You don't want to brush your hair? So don't! That's why man invented the hat...easy fix!
Mom said you can't have McDonald's? Well, it won't hurt just this one time. Let's not mention to her that I ordered you a Coke instead of that organic juice.
You want to wear pajamas to the store? Fine by me, as long as you put on some shoes! I don't care if you don't match.
Dads just bring about that extra element of fun. They are not concerned with the opinions and judgements of others and they parent with a carefree attitude. And that's why our children think they hung the moon.
That's why when that front door opens every day at 5:30, they run down the hall screaming "Daddy's home!", pouncing on him like he's been away at sea for a year.
It's not that our children don't absolutely adore us. I don't know about you, but mama is the cure for any ailment in this house. When they're tired, hurt, or scared, they always want me. Hugs, kisses, snuggles...I always get more. But just as I sometimes need a break from them, after 10 hours alone together each day, they need separation from me, and Daddy is a breath of fresh air for their little minds and hearts. They get to show him what they've done all day, tell him about their adventures, and conveniently slip in that part about when mommy lost her mind and put them in time out. He hugs, he kisses, he plays with them, and he fills their little tanks back up with the fun I've probably diminished over the course of the day.
Sometimes being a mom can be hard. We're mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted, and it's difficult to maintain our element of fun. We spend our days loving and hugging, and then arguing and punishing them, and then loving and hugging some more. It's a lot for us all. Much too often, I find myself being the bad guy and I hate it. I hate the looks on their sweet little faces when I have to be hard on them, and it shatters my heart into a million pieces. But I know it has to be done, and so I reluctantly lay down the hammer in order to maintain some sense of structure.
It's not that my husband doesn't ever punish them. He's my back up for when I haven't successfully put the fear of God into them. They know that if daddy has to step in, they have gone way past the point of a simple time out. Luckily, we rarely ever make it that far.
I just have to accept the fact that Daddy fills in the boxes that I cannot check off. The other half of me, he balances out my weak areas. Most importantly, he has more patience. He spends all day surrounded by adults, so coming home to those sweet little faces is like Christmas morning after a long, grueling day at the office. I know he would trade places with me in a heartbeat. Who wouldn't want to spend their days playing with mini versions of themselves? He longs to build Lego castles, watch Paw Patrol on a loop, and get his nails painted princess pink. It would mean so much more to him than that 50 hour work week.
But he doesn't get that option. Someone has to pay the bills. Someone has to put food on the table. School uniforms don't buy themselves. Daddy has it hard on a completely different spectrum. He's business by day, and fighting to keep his eyes open through another Disney movie by night. But here he is, just doing the best he can.
So what if he always gets to be the good guy?
So what if he wants to spoil them and give them all of the things that I won't?
I'm going to let him. And I'm going to thank him.
I'm going to thank him for being the best dad he can possibly be, because that's all that matters. Being loved by your children is the greatest gift in the world, and we both have that, so I have nothing to complain about. I'm going to let him be the hero of our story. And though I'll still be slightly jealous of how cool they think he is, I'll stick with being a mom.
This one's for you, Dads. You make life more adventurous and remind us that parenting doesn't have to be so by the book.
It's okay to make a mess. It's okay to color outside the lines. The world won't end if little feet jump on the couch.
This life is sweet and we should soak in every precious moment.
Keep your cape, Dad. I have a pretty fabulous pair of Wonder Woman pajamas I can slip on. Let's join forces for the good of our children. Tonight, we save them from the evil rain that has been plauging any chances of fun they could possibly have all week. Will we fight this evil rain with a dance party? A popcorn filled movie night? Maybe we'll have a fort building contest? If so, prepare to go down. It's time for some fun, Dad style!